Caring Community

FWB2015Ok, I’ve tweeted enough about my experience at Fiction Writers’ Bootcamp that I figured it was time to blog about it. If I seem over-the-top excited, let me explain: This was my first writing conference, and it was full of kind, helpful people sharing valuable knowledge and words of encouragement. I met others going through the same process as me, and learned from professionals who have already been through it. That is pure gold, my friends.

We learned about the pros and cons of different publishing paths; the importance of finding the right agent for you – someone who will be your champion and guide throughout your career, fighting for your work and your rights; and the importance of having a street team – friends, family and others who will promote your book widely through word of mouth. (Yes, I totally texted my besties immediately after learning this; they are already in.)

Other writing/revising advice:

You can have the coolest action in your scenes, but if readers don’t care about your characters, it doesn’t matter.

Don’t be too proud to kill your darlings, but stand up for scenes that are important to you.

If you get conflicting advice, be true to what you want your story to be.

The point is not to write beautiful words, the point it to write a beautiful story and tell it well.

These practical tips were invaluable, and yet for me, the best advice was the inspirational kind. Because as new authors, the roller coaster of emotion tends to linger longest on self-doubt. So words of encouragement from established authors are wonderful. Some of the gems they shared:

If you’re going to aim, aim at the top.

Be brave. Write like no one’s ever going to read it.

Confidence is everything.

Beyond the conference, the most pleasant surprise out of this journey has been discovering how caring and helpful the writing community is. Every day online, people I’ve never met share advice to help writers like me succeed – from contests to Manuscript Wishlist to helpful hashtags to blog posts by authors sharing their experiences.

Other authors aren’t your competition, we learned at #FWB2015. They are your co-workers.

So true. And I am so grateful for that.

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